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NIST mini-sensor traces faint magnetic signature of human heartbeat
Date:10/14/2010

g at room temperature, whereas SQUIDs work best at minus 269 degrees Celsius and require more complicated and expensive supporting apparatus.

A spin-off of NIST's miniature atomic clocks, NIST's magnetic mini-sensors were first developed in 2004. Recently, they were packaged with fiber optics for detecting the light signals that register magnetic field strength. (See the 2007 NIST news release "New NIST Mini-Sensor May Have Biomedical and Security Applications" at http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/magnetometer.cfm.) In addition, the control system has been reduced in size, so the entire apparatus can be transported easily to other laboratories.

The new results suggest that NIST mini-sensors could be used to make magnetocardiograms, a supplement or alternative to electrocardiograms. The study also demonstrated for the first time that atomic magnetometers can offer sensing stability lasting tens of seconds, as needed for an emerging technique called magnetorelaxometry (MRX), which measures the magnetization decay of magnetic nanoparticles. MRX is used to localize, quantify and image magnetic nanoparticles inserted into biological tissue for medical applications such as targeted drug treatments. Further tests of the NIST sensors at PTB are planned.


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Contact: Laura Ost
laura.ost@nist.gov
303-497-4880
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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